Adam Levin: Partner with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, LLP, Los Angeles, CA by LawCrossing


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									PARTNER PROFILE                                                                               1. 800.973.1177

                           Adam Levin: Partner with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp,
                           LLP, Los Angeles, CA
                           [By Kenneth Davis]
                           Labor and employment litigator Adam Levin said he likes to comb through all the details and facts of a case, taking them
                           apart and putting them back together like the parts of a three-dimensional puzzle. And he also loves a good mystery.

“Every case I handle is like a mystery,”          decision with regard to the harassment            Levin has also appeared as Counsel of Record
he said. “And what I enjoy most is getting        claims, while affirming summary judgment          for Sony Pictures Television, Walt Disney,
to the core of the mystery, gathering the         regarding Lyle’s other claims. Levin and his      Warner Music Group, Warner Brothers
facts through discovery and through other         colleagues took the matter to the California      Records, and Universal Music Group.
investigatory means and figuring out what’s       Supreme Court, where they argued the case
really going on […]. And once you put             on Valentine’s Day of this year. The court        He is currently representing Wet Seal,
together the story, “hopefully the ending is      returned a unanimous verdict in his clients’      a leading specialty retailer, in a class
one that’s beneficial for the clients.”           favor in April.                                   action, as well as American Apparel in
                                                                                                    various matters. He is also representing
Fortunately for Levin’s clients, he’s very        “Basically the case was a challenge to the        Homestore, now known as Move, in a
good at putting the pieces of the mystery         Constitutional rights of the writers and the      lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment
together. As a partner with Mitchell,             producers of the television show Friends,”        Opportunity Commission.
Silberberg & Knupp, he has a thriving labor       Levin said. “And I think that Constitutional
and employment practice and has several           rights are often overlooked in employment         Levin said he decided he wanted a career in law
high-profile clients in the motion picture,       litigation matters, but that really became        as a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College,
television, and recording industries.             front and center in this litigation, primarily    where he was a political science major.
                                                  because of the nature of the workplace.
For example, he successfully defended             This was somewhat of a unique workplace,          “I enjoyed a good argument and loved the
Warner Brothers Television Production and         in that it was a writers’ room on a television    logical thinking involved in debate,” he said.
several writers in the high-profile wrongful      show where the free speech rights were so         “And, as a result, I thought perhaps a career
termination and harassment suit Lyle v.           integral to the nature of the business and        in law would suit me. I tend to think in a
Warner Brothers Television Production. In         the job the writers had to do. And Justice        somewhat logical fashion, and I think that
the case, Amaani Lyle, an African-American        [Ming] Chin wrote a concurring opinion            probably one of my strengths as a lawyer is
writer’s assistant for the hit show Friends,      signaling that this case really wasn’t about      my writing, because I write very logically.
claimed that she was subjected to sexually        harassment, but it was primarily about First      And I’ve been told that I’m persuasive in my
and racially offensive comments from              Amendment rights.”                                writing, and I think that all comes from how
writers on the show. Lyle had been fired
                                                                                                    I take an issue and pull it apart and try to
for poor performance after four months.           In another significant case, Levin
                                                                                                    put it back together again.”
Her suit included wrongful termination as         represented Elektra Records in a
well as sexual and racial discrimination and      discrimination action, Flores v. Elektra
                                                                                                    After graduating from Claremont McKenna
harassment claims. Levin’s defense was            Records. Nathaniel W. Flores, an aspiring         in 988, Levin went on to the University of
that the writers’ off-color comments-none         Portuguese recording artist, sued Elektra
                                                                                                    San Diego School of Law and earned his
of which had been directed at Lyle-were           for discrimination because he felt he had
                                                                                                    law degree with honors in 99. Following
part of the creative process and should be        been wrongfully denied a contract with the
                                                                                                    graduation, he clerked for a year for Judge
protected under the First Amendment.              record company because of his national
                                                                                                    A. Andrew Hauk of the United States District
                                                  origin. Levin was able to get the case
                                                                                                    Court, Central District of California. In
Levin got the entire case thrown out at the       thrown out in trial court, and the decision
                                                                                                    992, Levin joined international law firm
trial court level and obtained an award of        was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals
                                                                                                    Fulbright & Jaworski in its Los Angeles
45,000 dollars in attorney’s fees. However,      for the Ninth Circuit last year.
                                                                                                    office. Levin said he was a “general-
the California Court of Appeal reversed the
                                                                                                    purpose litigator with an emphasis on

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PARTNER PROFILE                                                                              1. 800.973.1177

employment litigation” while at Fulbright.      their own, and I feel like, at that point, we as   “It’s not often that litigators get the
After being at the firm for two years, he       partners at the firm have done our job.”           opportunity to argue in front of any Supreme
joined Mitchell Silberberg’s Los Angeles                                                           Court, including the California Supreme
office in 994.                                 Levin advised law students and young               Court,” he said. “And it was such an
                                                attorneys to “take ownership of their work.”       important issue, both for my clients but
Levin explained why he made the move: “I        He added, “And you have to love it, and            also for many different industries where
was looking to broaden my horizons in terms     you have to get into it, and you have to be        free speech is so critical. And to have
of the kind of employment and labor work        passionate about it. And if you are, then you’re   that opportunity and then ultimately have
that I was doing,” he said. “So I was looking   going to really excel in most instances.”          our Supreme Court, 7 to 0, agree with
for more of a full-service employment and                                                          our client’s position was tremendously
                                                Levin said one of the things in the legal
labor practice, and that’s ultimately why I                                                        gratifying.”
                                                community that has been of concern to
came to Mitchell Silberberg.”
                                                him is the lack of civility among lawyers on
                                                                                                   When he’s not handling big cases, Levin
                                                opposing sides of cases.
He said that, in addition to his labor and                                                         said he likes to run in his free time.
employment work, he handles “right of
                                                “It used to be when I first started practicing
privacy, First Amendment-type cases.”                                                              “I find that by getting outdoors with my iPod
                                                that the relationship amongst adversaries
He also represents Internet websites and                                                           and my [punk rock] music and going on a
                                                was more collegial,” he commented. “And it
companies in disputes over the validity of                                                         long run that, by the end of the run, I have
                                                wasn’t that long ago, but it seems that over
model releases.                                                                                    solved many complicated legal messes,”
                                                the years that more and more plaintiffs’
                                                                                                   he said. “It’s amazing [how], when you’re
                                                lawyers and defense lawyers are at each
Levin said that William Cole, who heads the                                                        not sitting there dwelling on an issue but
                                                other’s throats, and that professionalism
labor department at Mitchell Silberberg,                                                           actually trying to clear your head, the
                                                has been sacrificed. And for my role in
has had a big influence on him. “Bill Cole                                                         craziest ideas or the most clever strategies
                                                litigation, but also in connection with the
has shown me that you can be tremendously                                                          suddenly appear,” he said.
                                                attorneys I work with, I have tried to get
successful both as a lawyer and a business
                                                everybody to view it in a different way, to
developer through honesty and courtesy and                                                         Levin said his professional goal for the
                                                try to view it as problem-solving […]. But if
being a mensch,” he said.                                                                          future is to continue doing exactly what he’s
                                                lawyers are screaming at each other, we’re
                                                                                                   doing now in his law practice.
                                                never going to communicate to be able to
Levin said that he gets the opportunity to
                                                get to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
speak to law students when he interviews                                                           ON THE NET
                                                And I find that when the lawyers aren’t
prospective employees for the firm. He
                                                communicating, ultimately it becomes
explained what he enjoys most about                                                                Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
                                                more expensive for the clients, and it’s not
working with young lawyers:                                                              
                                                to anybody’s benefit. So what I’ve tried to
                                                do in my practice is to bring civility back to
“What I enjoy most about working with                                                              University of San Diego School of Law
                                                litigation as much as possible.”
young attorneys is when I see them kind of                                               
cut the cord and handle a matter on their
                                                Levin said the highlight of his professional
own and get kudos from the clients or great                                                        Fulbright & Jaworski
                                                career was his involvement in the Lyle v.
results in court,” Levin said. “They just                                                
                                                Warner Brothers Television Production case.
beam because they achieve so much on


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